Today we celebrate the Visitation of Mary. The Visitation is when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John (the baptizer). I like to think about this as a day to celebrate holy friendship—this time of mutual support and love Mary and Elizabeth show to each other. I imagine they shared honestly about what was going on with their bodies, their hearts, and their souls. Honesty. Love. Vulnerability.
So, let’s have some honesty and love here today. Being a Mama is tough. Taking gender out of it, being a parent is tough. Yes, there are holy, glorious moments. For example, this morning, my 20-month-old son played peek-a-boo with me and each time his eyes were uncovered, his belly laugh was so vibrant, it filled the whole room. And, for every belly laugh moment, there are the tough moments of parenting. The blowout diapers. The kids who will NOT go to sleep. The “I hate you!” followed by a stomp or a slammed door. The bullies. The failure. The not being able to protect their hearts from all the hurt in the world.
Parenting is hard, folks. And I for one, am deeply thankful for my circle of friends and family who love and support me through calls, texts, and hilarious memes. While there has been much publicity during the pandemic of the strain on working moms, I want to highlight the strain on working parents, and also the strain on all human beings, period. It’s been hard. Folks are exhausted. The more we can honestly and vulnerably share, the better we can support each other as we come out of this pandemic.
This vulnerable honesty shows in my life in one-on-one conversations. The “real talk” phone calls with my dear friends. Those are the conversations where the answer to “How are you doing” is an honest talk about my weight gain during the pandemic, and what I’m doing for myself to work on that now. Or, the conversations about how tired we are now, during the pandemic and knowing that when we come out of this pandemic there will be more work, not less to do. Truly vulnerable conversations point out not just the weight or the exhaustion, but also take the time to offer God’s life-giving balm through love, support, and time.
The author with members of her circle in pre-pandemic times.We are coming out of this. And, we will be forever changed. What changes have been good for us that we want to hold on to when we come out of this? Can some of that change be holding on to the honesty and vulnerability that has emerged? I love hearing the random dog bark or child noise when I’m listening to a favorite reporter on a podcast. Oh my gosh, they are human, too! Wonderfully vulnerable humans, just like me. Can we continue to share our vulnerabilities, and offer grace and comfort to each other on the other side of this pandemic?
When I think of the Visitation of Mary, I think not only of the children leaping in wombs (which is a beautifully, weirdly specific detail to have been passed down from generation to generation in scripture), but also the vulnerability. The honesty. The love. Shared between these two women. These women who are literally carrying a saint and the son of God in their bodies. Raising them, disciplining them, sharing their own vulnerabilities, hopes and fears with them. If Mary can be vulnerable with Elizabeth, I have hope that we too can be vulnerable with each other.
Where can you be vulnerable?
What do you need to share with your circle today?
How can you support others in your circle?